SINGAPORE (June 4): Changes are afoot at Catalist-listed JEP Holdings, the provider of precision machining and engineering solutions.

JEP announced Friday night that executive chairman Andy Luong has been appointed as acting CEO with immediate effect to “lead the company through its next phase of innovation to spur growth”.

Luong, 58, is also the founder and CEO of another SGX-listed precision engineering firm, UMS Holdings.

He was appointed executive chairman at JEP in February this year, just a month after UMS in January announced it acquired a 7.48% stake in JEP for $5.7 million.

UMS is currently the largest shareholder in JEP, with a 28.06% stake in the company.

See: UMS Holdings acquires 7.48% stake in JEP Holdings for $5.7 mil

Luong’s appointment comes as Adam Lau Fook Hong @ Joe Lau, the outgoing CEO of JEP who holds a 5.2% stake, stepped down from his position and also from the Board and its Nominating Committee with effect from June 1.

In a filing to SGX, JEP said Lau is leaving the company due to “early retirement for personal reasons”. Lau, 63, has helmed the company since Oct 2007.

"We thank Mr Lau for his contributions over the years and his efforts in building JEP to what it is today. We are grateful for his invaluable advice, guidance and contributions during his tenure on the Board,” Luong said in a statement on Friday.

Chan Wai Leong, 55, JEP's non-executive and non-independent director, and Leow Kim Keat, 55, JEP's independent director, have also stepped down with effect from June 1.

They have also stepped down from the Audit, Nominating and Remuneration Committees.

In filings to SGX, both were cited to have left “due to personal interest”.

With the change in management, JEP said the new management team has made the commercial decision to bring in a new sponsor.

In a separate filing on Friday, the group said it has appointed RHT Capital to act as its continuing sponsor, in place of Stamford Corporate Services, with effect from June 4.

Shares of JEP fell 0.8 cents, or 4.1% lower, to close at 18.9 cents on Friday, before the announcements were made.